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The first wedding of 2004…

The first wedding of 2004…

In the 30th year of my friends and I, the first wedding happened in the luxurious surroundings of Cardiff Castle and the Millennium Stadium.

This meant a great deal of panic as I slowly realised that my vague plan of wearing a suit jacket and smart shirt/trousers wasn’t going to work, since I didn’t have a smart shirt, and my trousers didn’t match my jacket. Being told all this by my mate, looking splendid in his Scottish shirt/kilt (when I’m far more used to seeing him in a T-shirt and jeans) didn’t quite help. So it looks like I’ll need to buy a smart suit/trousers/shirt at some point between now and the next wedding.

The general theme of not getting my act together continued when I realised that I hadn’t bought a card or present. Admittedly there was no wedding list, but I should have realised earlier that just because there wasn’t a list didn’t mean I wasn’t supposed to bring a gift. Of course, now I have to figure out what to get for a couple who have lived together for (x) years and have wildly divergent interests. And they don’t even like wine.

The wedding ceremony itself was in the opulent, if very brown surroundings of Cardiff Castle’s Banqueting Hall. For some reason I get very very antsy feet and feel nervous and queasy at any major ceremony, be it weddings or graduations (you should see the snarl on my graduation photo), whether I’m playing a major part or just there to make everyone else look good as in this case. So I wasn’t exactly my usual calm relaxed self but I resisted the slide into Touretts Syndrome.

The bride of course looked splendid in a defiantly red jacket and dress, looking beautiful and adult. Not quite how I normally see her!

It’s also the first wedding I’ve been to where the bride/groom actually went through on their plans to have interesting music. They signed the register to World In Union and the happy couple walked down the aisle to the main Star Wars theme. So it wasn’t as formal as it all seemed. And I was still nervous – no idea why. And to think some people live for these things.

The pre-afternoon drinks gave us all a chance to relax, and catch up with friends and mutual acquaintances. To which I discovered that one of my former closer schoolfriends had gone and had a baby since I last talked to her, which was quite amazing. And she could have told me! With my usual talent for a booming voice in the smallest surroundings and a loose almost profane mouth – well, I had had one Bucks Fizz – there was the usual and oft-uttered phrase “You haven’t changed a bit”. Which is either good or bad, depending on which way you look at it.

The afternoon banquet was luxurious, enlivened by my friends’ attempts to photograph what was actually under the Scottish kilt. The speeches were excellent – surprisingly emotional (I don’t know why I say surprisingly, it’s not my wedding after all) and a couple of genuinely good gags. Top tip for future weddings – if you’re organising one, it *always* helps to have visual props to go with the gags.

And so to the evening reception at the Millennium Stadium Cardiff Arms Suite. Energy levels were somewhat flagging (well, for me) after two days of sustained drinking and merriment but enlivened by the arrival of more friends. The bride and groom were in remarkably good spirits at this point and perfectly willing to pose for photos – it’s almost as if they wanted to get married, be in love and get married. What a strange concept that is.

There was one hilarious co-ordinated manouevre resulting in a picture of what a man does wear under his kilt, and some vague acquaintance of mine tried chatting up two apparently single ladies at the reception before realising they were pupils of the bride.

For a while, we were even allowed to enter the Royal Box – so with my pint of Worthingtons I finally got a pic of the Worthingtons Cup at the Millennium Stadium. Now if only I actually followed football enough to get giddy about that.

So one wedding down, three equally-great ones to go (not counting any more surprises). I really do need to start getting my act together, get a suit/trousers together, and maybe, just maybe, grow up. Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Photos available on request.

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